Posted by Stacy Shaffer on





PBS SoCaL to Expand Work with Community Partners to Reach Low Income Families and Share Stories of Southern California Community Leaders

Who Are “American Graduate Champions”


COSTA MESA, Calif. (August 28, 2014) — PBS SoCaL is receiving a $200,000 American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen  grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The funds will help Southern California improve youth outcomes for all students from preschool through college and onto careers. A gap in graduation rates exists in Hispanic and African American communities in the region. Overall, approximately 18% of students across SoCal’s six counties do not graduate.


For the next two years, PBS SoCaL will be working with communities in greater Los Angeles to increase an understanding about the challenges facing at-risk youth. Over the past two years, the station has convened over 350 community stakeholders through workshops, trainings and town hall conversations to address the issues facing our students and to find solutions as part of this initiative.


The station will work with a network of community partners to help develop and illuminate long term solutions. It will emphasize the importance of a strong foundation in early education and the need for consistent caring adults throughout student’s primary and secondary educational lives. PBS SoCaL has partnered with local non-profit and educational organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor and the YMCA of Long Beach, to provide resources and support in order to help raise awareness about the issue and improve graduation rates.


PBS SoCaL is part of the national American Graduate initiative in partnership with 33 other public media stations around the country. Stations across the country will highlight local leaders who are helping communities increase graduation rates and the everyday heroes in a child’s life who are committed to improving education outcomes as “American Graduate Champions.” The initiative will feature new locally produced content alongside national productions and classroom resources – including PBS NewsHour’s new education desk, American Graduate Day, 180 Days: Hartsville, and the youth-driven spoken word contest RAISE UP!, along with PBS Learning Media and PBS Kids assets.


In addition, PBS SoCaL has received a $10,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation to increase philanthropic support to support the station’s local education service and further sustain the American Graduate initiative.


“Education is at the core of public media’s mission. Through American Graduate stations’ partnerships with over 1000 local organizations, we are proud of public media’s content and on the ground engagement that has raised awareness to achieve 80% graduation rates nationally and helped America see the potential in every student,” said Pat Harrison, CPB President and CEO. “By strengthening our focus on solutions, starting with our youngest learners, and highlighting local leaders who are creating sustainable change, together, we can set kids – and our country – on a path for long term success.”


“With this additional funding, we will be able to extend our efforts to reach a larger group of at-risk youth in the greater Los Angeles area,” said Mel Rogers, PBS SoCaL President and CEO. “We are honored that we can continue to build personal connections with our audiences that inspire and empower people to reach their full potential.”


About PBS SoCaL

            PBS SoCaL is PBS for Greater Los Angeles and is dedicated to educating, entertaining and enlightening viewers throughout Southern California.  With its three unique broadcast channels, PBS SoCaL HD, PBS SoCaL Plus and PBS SoCaL World, PBS SoCaL provides award-winning programs like Frontline, NewsHour, NOVA, Nature and Masterpiece, as well as local productions including Studio SoCaL and LAaRT.  Through community outreach initiatives including PBS SoCaL Education, PBS SoCaL provides local schools access to new media materials that engage students in 21st century learning.  Explore the future of PBS in Southern California at www.pbssocal.org.


About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.


About American Graduate

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen was launched in 2011 with 25 public media stations in high need communities to spotlight the high school dropout crisis and focus on middle and high school student interventions.  Today, more than 80 public radio and television stations in over 30 states have partnered with over 1000 community organizations and schools, as well as Alma and Colin Powell's America's Promise Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Alliance for Excellent Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation to help the nation achieve a 90% graduation by 2020.


With primetime and children’s programming that educates, informs, and inspires public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are important resources in helping to address critical issues facing today’s communities. According to a report from the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, American Graduate stations have told the story about the dropout crisis in a way that empowered citizens to get involved, and helped community organizations break down silos to work more effectively together. 


In early 2014, CPB and PBS KIDS committed an additional $20 million for the “American Graduate PBS KIDS Fund” to also help communities connect the importance of early learning as part of a student’s long term success. In addition to station grants for local engagement, the Fund will support the creation of children’s content and tools to help parents, particularly those from low income communities, better prepare their young children for long term success. Fourteen American Graduate station grantees have also been awarded CPB early education grants to reach children ages 2-8 with programming and services developed through the Ready to Learn Initiative, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.


# # # 

Media Contacts:

SWPR Group

Bonnie Winings                                  

(818) 760-7131




Media Contacts

Jennifer Vides
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
(310) 803-9008